Glossary of terms you need to understand when renting a property

by Ed Firmin


Posted on Friday, November 20th, 2015 at 10:00



The whole process of renting a property can be confusing and there may be lots of terms that your landlord or letting agent talks about which may be unfamiliar to you. So here’s a guide to some of the terminology that is useful for you to know:

  • Assured Short hold Tenancy (AST)

The standard tenancy agreement used for the majority of residential lettings

  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

All properties that are rented out on a residential basis must have an Energy Performance Certificate. It’s a measure of how energy efficient a property is

  • House of Multiple Occupation (HMO)

A property that is occupied by three or more people unrelated to each other

  • Gas Safety Certificate

Landlords are legally obliged to provide you with a certificate which proves that a gas safety check has been carried out on all appliances that use gas. This must be done every 12 months by an approved engineer

  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme

There are three Government run schemes which a landlord or letting agent has to put your security deposit into. This is kept in the event of a dispute of charges at the end of a tenancy

  • Inventory

A list of all the items in a property, as well as a detailed account of the condition of those items as well as the property in general

  • Guarantor

Someone that will guarantee to pay your rent in the event that you aren’t able

  • Security deposit

Usually equivalent to six weeks rent, this amount is taken by a landlord or letting agent which can be used at the end of a tenancy to pay for any repairs that you have damaged during your time in the property, or non-payment of rent

  • Holding deposit

An amount of money taken by a letting agent or landlord (usually non-refundable) to secure your interest in a property whilst relevant checks are being carried out to determine your suitability as tenants

  • Arrears

Any late or unpaid rent

  • PCM/PW

Per calendar month/per week

  • NLA (National Landlords Association)

The most well-known professional body for landlords

  • Reference checks

Landlords or letting agents will check the suitability of a tenant, and will typically check a tenant’s identity as well as undertaking a credit check

  • Portable appliance test

Although not legally needed, this is a test to see if any appliances in the property (such as washing machine, toaster, microwave etc.) are safe to use

Hope that’s useful! If there is something that I’ve not listed above that you aren’t sure about, please get in touch, I’m more than happy to explain it to you!

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